As the sun shone brightly in the afternoon sky and a gentle breeze made its way down Maitland Street, a crowd began to gather outside Quintin Warner House, one of Mission Services of London’s five support facilities. They had come to witness the eagle, which had stood sentinel outside the resident treatment facility since 2005, reclaim its rightful place on the lawn.
Local chainsaw artist Robbin Wenzoski is known for the boundless creativity that somehow transcends from his mind to his full blown chainsaw. He has transformed a host of trees within our forest city into breathtaking pieces of art. In 2005, Mission Services of London commissioned him to create something beautiful out of the tree in front of Quintin Warner House, situated in the historic Woodfield neighbourhood. “They gave me one condition,” says Wenzoski. “I could work on the tree, but I had to spend time with the residents. Eat with them, talk to them and really get to know them.” Wenzoski reflects on that time of his life as an inspirational one. “You know, those guys really inspired me,” he says. “And I like to think I inspired them too.”
Earlier this year, the City of London forced the removal of the tree and the inevitable destruction of the eagle that had spent seven years keeping watch over the Quintin Warner House. “I knew we couldn’t let this eagle go,” says Jon DeActis, Director of Quintin Warner House. Wenzoski was brought in to remove the eagle from its perch atop the tree and create a free standing structure, complete with new magnificent wings, folding inward, like hands in prayer.
The crowd had gathered on that sunny day, as part of an annual alumni barbeque, where friends and family recognize and pay tribute to those who have graduated from Mission Services of London’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility. This was the perfect opportunity for this rededication. “The eagle has great significance to us here,” said DeActis to the crowd. “It takes 5 months for a baby eagle to leave the nest. I can’t help but see the similarities. Our guys take 5 months to leave us. And then they soar. They really do.”
As the residents, staff, family and friends looked on, Wenzoski lifted the tarp off of the sculpture and the crowd exploded into glorious applause.
Peter Rozeluk, Executive Director of Mission Services of London spoke of how the eagle is a reminder of a recurring Christian message. Rozeluk spoke of the passage in scripture which reads: “He will lift you up on eagles wings.” This is a fitting symbol of the struggle and deliverance of the residents and alumni of Quintin Warner House.
Quintin Warner House is a branch of Mission Services of London that has been providing both safe housing and addiction treatment services since 1957. Situated at 477 Queens Avenue in the historic West Woodfield neighbourhood, clients progress through a 16 week residential treatment program. A rehabilitative atmosphere helps them establish self-esteem, responsibility, confidence and trust.
For more information on Quintin Warner House click HERE
To view Robbin Wenzoski’s website click HERE or find him on Facebook HERE
Join Mission Services of London on Facebook to see more pictures from this event HERE